2003:1469 - TRIM: Castle Street, Meath

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Meath Site name: TRIM: Castle Street

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E1484

Author: Finola O'Carroll, CRDS Ltd.

Site type: Structure, Graveyard and Pit

Period/Dating: Multi-period

ITM: E 680108m, N 756704m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.554145, -6.791025

Testing and monitoring of groundworks associated with road resurfacing and the provision of services at Castle Street, Trim, Co. Meath, were undertaken at the request of Meath County Council. The proposed site is located at the southern side of the town and extends north from the R154 for c. 160m before its junction with Market Street. The street is medieval in origin. The curtain wall of Trim Castle lies less than 10m to the east of the street's southern extent, with two of the half round mural towers immediately adjacent to the road. The projected location of the town wall also appears to lie just within the area of the development, extending west to Emmet Street from the southern of the two mural towers (Bradley 1988, 37).

Monitoring was undertaken and the detected archaeological deposits were excavated in the extension of the development. The remains of a medieval and early post-medieval cemetery associated with the Grey Friary were located and partially excavated; also some structures possibly related to the Town Court. Several post-medieval deposits were exposed, as well as part of the moat of the castle. The deposits disturbed by the development were excavated; where possible, the depth of the trench was reduced to avoid damage.

In Castle Street a service trench 160m long and 4m wide was dug, from the north of the street to the area opposite to the south-western tower of the curtain wall. The trench was excavated with a mechanical digger provided with a toothed bucket 0.6m wide used for breaking up the tarmacadam and disturbed upper layers; this bucket was swapped for a flat one in proximity of archaeological deposits. At between 10m and 45m of the trench length, human remains were identified, at a depth of 1.25m on average; so, where necessary, excavation extended to a depth of 1.5m. A trench had been dug to insert a sewage pipe in the early 1960s and this lay adjacent to the line of the water main. Considerable damage had been done to the burials by this trench, truncating the skeletons which were exposed and excavated in the course of this work. The area excavated which presented human remains was 35m long by 1m wide and 0.25–0.3m thick (exposed). An osteoarchaeologist was consulted about the procedures for excavating and recording the remains.

In the total extension of the trench, several deposits were detected. These can be grouped into four categories: a group of modern deposits, overlying and truncating the archaeological remains, composed of layers of tarmacadam, old pipes and road foundation; the archaeological deposits belonging to the cemetery of the Grey Friary; the remains of the moat of the castle at its south area; and post-medieval debris deposits sealing the moat.

As an extension to this licence, monitoring was carried out of the construction of a pedestrian path on the north bank of the River Boyne, opposite Trim Castle. The site is located between the Millennium Bridge and the main bridge on the R154 road. The path runs east-west, parallel to the river and at a distance of about 2–3m from it. The total length of the path was 350m and it was 1.7m wide. The end of the path divided into two branches near the bridge on the main road, one branch connecting to the road towards the north and the other to a passage under the bridge. The maximum depth of the excavation was 0.3m, the average depth being 0.15–0.2m, just taking off sod and part of the topsoil, not reaching natural subsoil. A metal detector was used on the spoilheap produced by that excavation by Ian Elliot (04R013).

Unit 4, Dundrum Business Park, Dundrum, Dublin 14